MTB > UCI 2005 Round 02: Germany > Race Results
MTBGermanyJune 5, 2005
UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup 2005 Round 02: Germany

Minnaar Wins World Cup 2 and Takes Series Lead

Greg Minnaar won his third ever World Cup race, his second for Team G-Cross Honda, in front of a huge crowd in Willingen, Germany, on a challenging two and half minute course that was hit by rain half way through the final. The suspense filled race had everything for the fans, with an early leader in Dan Atherton (Team Animal Giant) sitting in the hot seat waiting for the rest of the world' best to try and beat his time of 2min 23.04s; only Minnaar did.

Greg Minnaar

Greg Minnaar

The week started terribly for the team on Wednesday night when the two RN01 race bikes for riders Matti Lehikoinen and Greg Minnaar were stolen from a team vehicle, but fortunately this was without the technically innovate gear boxes, thus making the bikes useless to the thieves or anyone else. The mechanics and technical staff worked tirelessly to build up two new bikes in time for practice on Thursday morning, and they were only one hour late getting the riders on course.

The course was full of man made spectacular jumps but with the wet weather the gravel surface used by the course builders made riding very tough as the course became very soft. Powerful riders saw this as an advantage but for most others it became tough training sessions. Timed practice saw both Team G-Cross riders in the top 5, with Greg posting the 2nd fastest time and Matti the 5th fastest. Australian Mick Hannah, third in the World Cup standings was fastest in practice by just 0.19secs over Greg.

The Semi Final was held in cold conditions with the course still wet from morning rain. The goal for both riders was to have a strong semi-final as important World Cup points were available. Mick Hannah once again showed he was the man to beat on this course winning the semi final with 2min 23.21s, a fast time in the conditions. Greg finished 2nd with 2min 25.05s and Matti finished an impressive 3rd place earning valuable points. World Champion Fabien Barel missed his started and therefore earned no points today.

Going into the Final, everything was on the line for the overall lead. If Mick Hannah finished ahead of Greg, the leader' jersey was Mick', and the same if Greg would beat Mick, the overall lead would go to Greg. To make matters complicated, the course had dried out a lot after the semi finals thanks to the gusty wind and a bit of sunshine, but half way through the race, the heavens opened up and the course became very slick. The rain eased up but the damage was done in the open grassy section, 75% down the course. The mechanics swapped the riders to Maxxis Swamp Thing tyres in time, and Matti set off, third from last.

Despite the fact Matti didn't really like the course due it being more power based, he found himself in third place by the interval. He lost a little time on the bottom of the course and ultimately finished a creditable 7th. Next rider, and second last to start, was Greg, who cleared all the jumps at the top, most importantly the huge double, and then made it through all the slippery rock sections without errors, to be a full 4 seconds faster than Dan Atherton at the interval. His finishing time of 2m 19.59s was good enough to take the lead with only Mick to come. Everyone watched the giant screen as Mick started, but through the tough rock section half way down the course, Mick' bike came out from under him and he fell heavily on the mud. Losing a lot of time getting the bike up and running, he finished 77th and well out of the points, giving Greg Minnaar the overall lead in the World Cup, the first time since Fort William, Round 1, in 2004.

Matti Lehikoinen

Matti Lehikoinen

#9 Greg Minnaar (1st Place)
"His is such an important result for me, to be on target and after such a difficult week. The rain didn't affect the forest section as much as I thought, but I took it a bit easy in the open grass switchback as I heard that was treacherous. To win here in front of such a big crowd, and to do it after our bikes were stolen, means a great deal to me. The mechanics, and staff from Honda, Showa and Formula did an awesome job getting us racing this week and I'm very proud of them. Now we look forward to Schladming Round 3 where we are looking forward to a really technical course."

#11 Matti Lehikoinen (7th Place)
"Looks like lucky number 7 for me again! Actually when we came here I was not so sure it was a good course for me. I don't quite have the power of some of the other guys and so I was frustrated in training, but when the rain came I got excited, it was slippery and that, like Finland! After getting 3rd in the Semi Finals I just wanted to keep my head together and get a solid top 10 for the points. Now I'm 5th overall, so I'm really happy to have this event over with a good result."

Team Director Martin Whiteley
"I couldn't ask for a better result. I'm extremely proud of both Greg and Matti who came through the most difficult week and delivered a set of excellent results. To be in position 1 and 5 in the overall after round 2 is perfect. We're also been confirmed as the number 1 Downhill team in the UCI ranking so a good weekend all round."

UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup 2005
Round 02: Germany


1 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
2 Dan Atherton (Animal Giant)
3 Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
4 Chris Kovarik (Intense Bicycles)
5 Sam Hill (Iron Horse Mad Catz)
6 David Vazquez (Maxxis-MSC)
7 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)
8 Cedric Gracia (Siemens Cannondale)
9 Gee Atherton (Animal Giant)
10 Markolf Berchtold (Maxxis-MSC)

Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)

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· MTB - UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup
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